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America has world’s highest rate of single-parent households



The United States has a higher share of single-parent households than 129 other countries, a recent analysis from the Pew Research Center reveals.

Twenty-three percent of U.S. children live with a single adult, Pew found, compared with an average of just 7 percent around the world. Of the 130 countries from which Pew obtained survey data, rates of single-parent households ranged from the low 20s in the United States and United Kingdom to as low as 1 or 2 percent in countries like Turkey and Afghanistan.

The report suggests that America’s record-high rate, a product of the steady decline in two-parent homes in the United States, is related to the move away from extended family structure in Western nations and toward a more isolated model for children and adults alike. The result is another part of the complicated story of family and marriage inequity in the United States.

Single parenthood’s commonness in the United States makes the country stand out even by comparison to other developed nations, Pew found. Although many Western countries have single-parenthood household rates in the double digits—including Ireland (14 percent), Germany (12 percent), Canada (15 percent), and France (16 percent)—they all still have lower rates of single-parent households than the United States.

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